Carp Streamer

Carp Streamer lesson plan

Design and decorate a symbolic carp streamer in the Japanese tradition of Kodomonohi (Children's Day).

  • 1.

    Research information about Children's Day, which is celebrated each year on May 5 in Japan. Large carp streamers are typically displayed outdoors by families with boys to symbolize their strength, determination, and success. Find out what symbols families display indoors, when a festival for girls is held, and how the arts are incorporated into these children's festivals.

  • 2.

    To make your own carp streamer, sketch a carp on large white construction paper with Crayola® Colored Pencils. Cut out the fish with Crayola Scissors.

  • 3.

    Color several coffee filters with Crayola Washable Markers. Spread filters out on recycled newspaper.

  • 4.

    Spritz colored coffee filters with a spray bottle filled with water. The colors run to create an effect of shimmery fish scales. Dry.

  • 5.

    Cut filters into pie-shaped pieces. Layer the pieces like fish scales on the construction paper carp. Attach the scales with Crayola Glue Sticks.

  • 6.

    Draw and color the fish's mouth and eyes with markers. Attach colored ribbon to carp streamer and hang from tree branch or near a window so it can catch the breeze.


  • Children research ways in which Children's Day (Kodomonohi) is celebrated in Japan on May
  • Children recognize how symbols are used to communicate different meanings in various cultures.
  • Children creatively design and decorate a carp streamer (koinobori) to symbolize their personal strengths.


  • Invite someone in the community who is a native speaker of Japanese to talk with your class. Find out about other Japanese holidays and terms such as "saijitsu" which means national holiday, and "matsuri" which means festival. Learn other words in the Jap
  • Research the symbolic meanings of fish in different cultures. For example, in Japan a carp symbolizes a strong fish because it swims against the stream. Choose a fish that represents your personal qualities and construct a streamer or sculpture.
  • Research different types of fish found in various regions and types of water. Why do some fish thrive in salt water, while others live in fresh water? Why are water temperature and light important factors for sea life? Why is it important to protect natural habitats for fish and other marine life?
  • Younger children and special needs students can tear colored coffee filters into pieces about the size of an egg, then attach to carp streamer cut-out with glue sticks.